Our first Canadian Music Week show wasn’t exactly what I expected from a music festival concert. The stage at Tattoo Rock Parlour was taken up entirely by a table dressed to look like an 80’s boom box, complete with level lights and an eject button which, although it looked very realistic, didn’t work (I checked). On either side were what looked like old wood paneled TV screens that displayed a series of heavily pixelated videos taken from 80s video games. All this left me wondering exactly what was going on at Tattoo that night. The club’s house DJs spun a pretty decent mix for the first hour and a half to a room that slowly filled with people. As the music bumped along and the room began to move it became apparent that this was not your typical concert crowd. Split about 50/50 between festival goers and people going to the club on a Friday night, I felt a little underdressed at times and wondered every time words were exchanged in the crowd, if a West Side Story-esque musical gang fight broke out between the two sides: Who would win?
As the house DJs wound down, the Stones Throw Records showcase really got started. J-Rocc and Peanut Butter Wolf (the founder of STR) took the stage followed later by Tuxedo and they all proceeded to blow me away. Every song was mixed from 7-inch singles. Playing a mix of hip hop, funk, soul, motown, and rock ranging from mainstream to incredibly obscure. I could only imagine the massive amount of record crates that must have been stacked just out of sight behind the table on stage.
The expertise and finesse that each DJ showed on the tables along with the encyclopedic knowledge of music that’s required to play a show like this are things I’ve come to expect from Peanut Butter Wolf and his collaborators. The audience payed little attention overall to the goings on onstage, everyone being caught up in their own microcosm of the dance party. A good DJ is like a ninja moving subtly and not attracting attention to themselves until the opportunity presents itself and they strike.
Peanut Butter Wolf and J Rocc
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Photos by Benjamin Telford (bentelfordphoto) | Review by Tristan Johnston